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How Much Will The Military Pay For College

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Alternative Funding Sources For Coast Guard Members

HOW MUCH DOES THE MILITARY MAKE IN 2021? | Benefits of Military Pay

Any form of Tuition Assistance benefits is a great benefit and can help you achieve your education goals more quickly. However, with the rising cost of tuition, the $2,250 annual cap on Coast Guard TA benefits doesnt go very far.

These TA limits dont mean Coast Guardsmen wont be able to achieve their educational goals. It just means they need to be a little more creative when planning their coursework.

Coast Guard members may be eligible to complete coursework or earn college credits through other means. For example, you can also view the Coast Guard Education and Training Quota Management Command website funding and reimbursement programs for education expenses.

In addition, Coast Guardsmen are still eligible to take CLEP and DANTES courses. These credit by examination courses are free and offer college credit upon passing. These exams played a large role when I achieved my degree while on active duty.

Many institutions of higher education also offer credits for military service, potentially eliminating some required coursework en route to achieving a degree.

Additional funding sources for college credits include utilizing the Montgomery GI Bill, Post-9/11 GI Bill, scholarships, grants, and other ways to pay for college.

Non-Coast Guard sources for need-based or merit-based financial aid can be found at .

The Gi Bill: Helping Military Veterans Pay For College

Originally known as the Servicemens Readjustment Act of 1944, the GI Bill was started after World War II to support military veterans in their return to civilian life. Years later, plenty of military service members still use the program to fund their college education.

Heres what you need to qualify for the GI Bill:

  • Have served at least 90 days of active duty, or at least 30 days if youve been discharged with a service-related disability
  • In most cases, you will need to sign up for eight years of military service. The most common arrangement involves four years of active duty, and four years of reserve duty

Military vets can choose between the Post 9/11 GI Bill and the Montgomery GI Bill. Both paths offer a number of benefits, so its up to you to make your decision based on your educational goals and service history.

Veterans Educational Assistance Program

VEAP is an old education program providing two for one matching from the government that was only available for servicemembers who entered active duty between January 1, 1977 and June 30, 1985, and who opened and contributed at least $25 before April 1, 1987.

Furthermore, all the money must be used within 10 years of release from active duty with anything other than a dishonorable discharge. More information about VEAP can be learned at the VA website.

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Defer Your Payments While On Active Duty

You can defer your student loan payments while on active duty and for 13 months after you return. The government will pay the interest on your Direct Loans and Federal Stafford Loans . You wont have to worry about interest accruing while youre not making principal payments.

If you have an unsubsidized loan, then you wont be able to have your interest paid while in deferment.

Comparison Of Tuition Assistance Vs The Gi Bill

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Here is a general comparison of Tuition Assistance vs. the GI Bill is as follows:

Tuition Assistance
No, TA can only be used by the member Post-9/11 GI Bill can be transferred to an eligible spouse or children

There is more than one GI Bill theres the Montgomery GI Bill, the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and the updated Forever GI Bill. You can use the GI Bill Comparison Tool for more info.

Important note: Many military-friendly colleges offer military discounts and participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program. This program can help you pay for higher out-of-state, private school, foreign school, or graduate school tuition and fees that the Post-9/11 GI Bill doesnt cover. The value of this Yellow Ribbon benefit can add up to some serious savings, so check to see if your school qualifies.

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What Is An Enlisted Military Person

Enlisted personnel make up the bulk of the military. Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the enlisted force comprises ~82% of the whole military, with the rest being officers .

Enlisted troops can essentially be described as the worker bees of the military, whereas officers are the primary leaders and managers. That is an oversimplification, of course. Enlisted members can also serve in management and leadership roles. However, the highest-ranking enlisted person will be officially a subordinate to even the most junior officer. Thats just the way the chain of command works.

A primary distinction between enlisted personnel and commissioned officers is officers must be college graduates.

Matt Cates

There are other qualification criteria for both officers and enlisted , but for the sake of this article, the college degree is the main thing to remember.

How To Apply For Ta

Regardless of your branch in the armed forces, you will need information about your school, program, and courses in order to complete your application.


Create an account at GoArmyEd and apply online. You will receive an email notification if/when your request is approved.


Using WebTA, soldiers can apply directly online. You will be notified by email when your request has been approved. Help with the application can be found at the Navy College Program’s website.


Create an account for the Air Force Virtual Education Center using the Air Force Portal. Complete the online application process. You will receive an email notifying you if/when your request is approved.

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% Interest During Service In Hostile Fire Pay Area

Servicemembers who are serving in an area designated to receive hostile fire pay are eligible to have interest rates reduced to 0% on federal direct loans originated after October 1, 2008. This eligibility can last up to 60 months but is only good for the actual time spent in HFP areas.

For example, a servicemember deployed for 13 months to an area designated for HFP would receive the 0% interest rate cap just for the 13 months spent in the HFP area and the interest rate would revert back upon exit from the HFP area.

Proof of HFP must be sent to the loan servicer and can include a commanding officers statement and signature, military orders showing service in HFP area, or a leave and earning statement showing receipt of HFP.

How Does The Va Calculate Post


About Ryan Guina

Ryan Guina is The Military Wallet’s founder. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over six years on active duty in the USAF and is a current member of the Illinois Air National Guard.

Ryan started The Military Wallet in 2007 after separating from active duty military service and has been writing about financial, small business, and military benefits topics since then. He also writes about personal finance and investing at Cash Money Life.

Ryan uses Personal Capital to track and manage his finances. Personal Capital is a free software program that allows him to track his net worth, balance his investment portfolio, track his income and expenses, and much more. You can open a free Personal Capital account here.

Featured In: Ryan’s writing has been featured in the following publications: Forbes,, US News & World Report, Yahoo Finance, Reserve & National Guard Magazine , Military Influencer Magazine, Cash Money Life, The Military Guide, USAA, Go Banking Rates, and many other publications.

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Servicemembers Opportunity College Branch Specific

SOC is an association of approximately 1,900 colleges and universities that was created to ensure servicemembers are given plentiful educational opportunities through the challenges of the PCS cycle and active duty lifestyle.

The association of schools has agreements in place simplifying credit transfers and reducing the number of credits students needed to earn a degree from a given school. SOC is funded by the Department of Defense and coordinated through Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support . Students can typically choose between traditional in-person classes, distance learning, or learning assessment options to test out of class requirements.

Each branch has its specific SOC program that coordinates associate and bachelor’s degree programs in a variety of curriculum areas. Due to the existence of the Community College of the Air Force , the Air Force doesn’t have an Air Force-specific SOC program however, the Air Force is a member of SOC under the general SOC program. SOC also offers a program called ConAP that allows servicemembers the opportunity to select a college concurrently with enlistment in the Army or Army Reserve.

One of the best things about these degree programs is that they take military training and experience as credit towards a degree. The links below provide more specific information about each program from the specific branches.

What Is Military Tuition Assistance

The Tuition Assistance program is relatively straightforward. DANTES summarizes it nicely:

The Department of Defense Tuition Assistance program provides financial assistance to Servicemembers for voluntary off-duty education programs in support of professional and personal self-development goals.

DANTES goes on to clarify that TA is available for courses that are offered in the classroom or by distance learning and are part of an approved academic degree or certificate program.

Both enlisted personnel are eligible to receive Tuition Assistance benefits when funding is available. Funding has rarely been interrupted however, sequestration did cause forced budget cuts in 2013 which temporarily impacted TA funding.

Personnel will work directly with their supervisor and their bases education office to complete necessary TA forms. These forms, once approved, are then submitted to the members applicable college. Theres always help at handbut its wise to understand how TA works before joining the military!

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Army Reserve Prior Service Loan Repayment Program

Based on the needs of the Army Reserve, new Reservists with prior military service can receive up to $50,000 toward student loan payments as part of their recruiting incentives.

This information is variable so the most up-to-date details can be obtained by talking to an Army Reserve Recruiter. Make sure to get an offer in writing in the enlistment contract.

Air National Guard Student Loan Repayment Program

Do I have to pay to attend the ROTC Program?

New enlistees to the Air National Guard service may be eligible for Air National Guard student loan repayment assistance based on their specific Air Force Specialty Code which changes based on the needs of the Air National Guard and specific units.

Conditions vary too widely to state blanket conditions here. However, typically the Air National Guard will pay 15 percent of the outstanding principal balance of the loan annually, or $5,500, whichever is greater, for each year of service. Check with an Air National Guard Recruiter for the most up-to-date information.

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Service Academies And Senior Military Colleges

Students who would like to experience a military environment while getting an education should be aware of the opportunities that a Senior Military College or Service academy can offer. They are widely respected and provide first-class instruction.

Service academies offer full four-year scholarships, and SMCs offer financial aid packages for eligible students. Both also offer pay for books, board and medical and dental care. In exchange for such benefits, graduates become commissioned officers and are required to uphold a service obligation of a minimum of five years. Those who attend SMCs can choose whether or not they want to serve, but recipients of ROTC scholarships will be required to serve after graduation.

Education After Military Service

After a service member decides to leave the military, there are a number of opportunities for them to further their education. One of the biggest pluses for veterans is the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which can cover up to 100% of college tuition expenses and up to $1,000 a month for rent. Veterans can use this program to get a college degree, vocational training or other certification. Current service members with between six and 16 years of service can also transfer this benefit to a spouse or child.

Veterans with at least two years of active-duty service can use the Montgomery GI Bill program to get up to $61,000 for college programs, flight training or apprenticeships.

Veterans and FRY Scholars who have or will soon exhaust their benefits and are currently enrolled in a STEM degree program or are seeking a teaching certification are eligible to receive the Rogers STEM scholarship. Family members who received transferred entitlement are not eligible for additional educational assistance under the STEM Scholarship.

Service members or their spouses can also reach out to Military OneSource education consultants while actively serving and for up to a year post-separation or retirement. These consultants can help service members and their family members figure out their education goals, find military-friendly colleges and professional programs, and apply for scholarships all at no cost.

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How To Pay For College

If theres one thing serving your country has taught you, its that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. So when it comes to paying for degree programs, you must be strategic. With the variety of benefits, loans, grants, and scholarships available, plus more affordable online military college options, you can get a degree without breaking the bankor even possibly for free!

Lets review some of the financial aid tools you can use to cover college costs at many academic institutions and online colleges around the country.

GI Bill®.

Since 1944, the GI Bill has helped qualifying veterans and their family members secure the funds needed to cover some or all of their college costs.

Its important to note that not all schools accept the GI Bill, so you must do your homework to find an academic institution that caters to service members and military students. However, at WGU, all of our degree programs are approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs for all GI Bill education benefits. And because our tuition is lower than most four-year colleges, your military education benefits will typically cover the full cost of tuition, books, and fees. Current military students and civilians both can benefit from an online college like WGU.

So how can the GI Bill help you? You can use it to:

Student loans.

Pell Grants.


Save money.

Other ways an online degree can save you money:

Does The Military Pay Off Student Loans

How much money will you make in the Army National Guard : Also Q & A

Much like joining the military, receiving a diploma from a college or university is a first-class ticket to opportunity. Many point to their college years as some of the best of their lives, where they were able to meet people and go places they never would have otherwise. Upon commencement and receiving their certificates of completion, graduates can leverage it immediately, working in the fields most in line with their capabilities and ambitions.

How does student loan repayment work for service members? What other college loan repayment programs are there?Can the GI Bill pay off student loans?Can military spouses get student loan forgiveness?The information provided in this blog post is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered legal or financial advice. You should consult with a financial professional to determine what may be best for your individual needs.

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Compare Military Branch Scholarships

The different branches of the military all offer military education and scholarship programs. For example, the Army has a scholarship program for those looking to become chaplains. Also, the Army Health Professions Scholarship Program pays tuition for medical school students and for graduate students in dentistry, optometry, psychology or veterinary medicine programs at any accredited U.S. school.

Other Financial Assistance Options For Veterans

For service members who dont meet eligibility requirements, each branch of the armed forces has related “aid” or “relief” societies, which are non-profit organizations dedicated to providing assistance to military members and their dependents. Quite often, these agencies offer college scholarships, grants, or interest-free loans for dependent college education.

Each of the service-related societies has its own unique programs, eligibility requirements, program parameters, scholarship application forms, and decision processes.

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Air Force Tuition Assistance

The Air Force Tuition Assistance program allows airmen to pursue college courses while off duty. Tuition assistance pays for 100 percent of tuition up to $250 per semester hour. Students may receive up to $4,500 per year. This program allows airmen to pursue two- or four-year academic degrees or technical programs.

Alternative Ways To Pay For College

How Much Does the Military Pay for College?

Army Soldiers who arent eligible for the Tuition Assistance program still have options to continue their education while they are serving.

For example, the DoD offers military members the opportunity to take credit by examination tests, including the CLEP and DANTES tests.

Passing these test gives students college credits at a variety of colleges and universities. They can be a great way to reduce the amount of time needed to achieve a degree. I used these extensively while taking classes on active duty. Many colleges and universities also offer credits for military service.

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